With all the issues with waiting times in the NHS, a lot of people are considering private healthcare for important surgeries. This is perfectly understandable as waiting for too long for serious procedures could lead to complications. You should know, however, that there are cases when going for a private surgery would not be the best decision. The NHS is still very capable, and depending on the nature of the surgery and your condition, it might be a better idea to go the public route. There are also monetary factors you may have to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of going to a private hospital for surgery.
Pro – Faster Service
Perhaps the greatest benefit of going to a private surgeon is how fast you’ll be able to get tested and treated. You can expect to wait a fourth of the time you’d have to wait with the NHS, which could literally be the difference between life and death in some cases. Getting tested will make sure that you catch anything you may have earlier which will reduce the chances of complications while increasing the chances of survival. So, if you suspect that you have something serious that would need treatment immediately, going with a private healthcare facility is a better option.
Going to a private surgeon for elective surgery is also a good option since waiting times on those will be even longer with the NHS. If you want a rundown of some of the elective surgeries you could get done privately, you can learn more about general surgery here. Circle Health Group is one of the country’s most well-established private healthcare providers and a great resource on general surgery. They specialise in things like gallbladder surgery, abdominal pain treatment, and all sorts of other surgeries, so you may want to look into them further.
Con – It’s Expensive
The biggest issue with private healthcare is the cost. If you don’t have insurance, then you can expect to pay in the tens of thousands of pounds for certain procedures. A hip replacement surgery, for instance, could cost you as much as £15,625. Knee surgeries and many back-related surgeries will also cost you. Back issues will usually require fast treatment, but you might be able to hold off until you get a spot for a knee surgery instead of rushing and getting it done privately, so think about the option.
If you have insurance, then it makes more sense to go with a private surgery. You still have to know how much you’ll have to pay out of your pocket, however, and make sure that the procedure or your condition is covered.
Pro – Better Overall Experience
We all love the NHS, but we have to call a spade a spade here. The experience in private hospitals is nothing like what you would generally experience with the NHS. People in private healthcare facilities enjoy much better conditions than people in the NHS and it shows. Doctors don’t have quotas for the number of patients they have to process per day or hour either.
Many people don’t know this, but many NHS doctors are forced to push patients through the pipeline as fast as possible no matter their condition. They also have many more patients to work with and can only spend so much time with patients on the floor. This is why you are more likely to see an intermediary than your actual doctor.
But, with a private healthcare facility, you can expect to see your doctor every day that they’re on the floor. They’ll also be able to answer all your questions in detail. This could make a world of difference if you’re dealing with a serious condition and need some clarity and emotional support.
Con – Quality May Vary
Not all private healthcare facilities are great, however, so you need to do your research before you pick one. It’s still very important to look up the satisfaction surveys for the facility you are thinking of going for. You need to check if they have a long history of malpractice and unexpected returns. These are all things that you can find out by checking the facilities record with the Care Quality Commission.
When looking up facilities, you need to pay very close attention to things like return to theatre numbers and infections. Infections are self-explanatory but return to theatre refers to the number of patients who unexpectedly had to come back after getting the first surgery. This could be because of unavoidable complications but it could also be because of a botched procedure. So, check the record of any facility and see how their record compares with the national average.
Now that you know a bit more about the benefits and disadvantages of private healthcare, you can make a better decision. If you have the money for it and you feel like the situation is urgent, then going private could be a good choice. Just make sure that you consider both options before you rush into things.
Until next time.